Civic crimes - Brownsville Herald: Letters To The Editor

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Civic crimes

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Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 12:24 am

Editor:

Taxpayers in the Big Apple (aka the People's Republic of New York City) may just have avoided a monstrous parasitic worm. Even U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many other socialists (more than 65 percent of the population) are up in arms over the sweetheart deal New York City offered Amazon to open an East Coast headquarters there. They came to their senses and now Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is pulling the plug.

Most communities today offer tax abatements, low-interest loans, cheap land, buildings and equipment to major firms that promise tentative employment to the population. It's called community development. Those promises are rarely fulfilled, but the practice has become virtually universal and is now necessary just to be competitive.

I have no problem with prospecting and promoting, but community development today has become nothing less than extortion and bribery.Local governments use the force of law (i.e., at gunpoint if necessary) to extort sufficient funds from their taxpayers to reimburse their treasuries for the cost of selling or leasing public land and buildings at prices far below fair market value, underwriting low-interest loans and covering revenue shortfalls created by huge tax abatements. Property and sales taxes skyrocket for the rest of us who are obviously not seen as being of equal value to the community.

On the other side of this extortion, we have bribery. The communities that offer the best bribes get the most business. Reduced costs, low interest rates and tax abatements go directly to the bottom line of any company lucky enough to find a sucker. Historically, as soon as the goodies run out, so do they.

There's no shortage of cities willing and eager to be victimized. If it were not legal for government entities to offer bribes at the expense of their taxpayers, businesses would still have to find suitable locations but they would select them on the basis of sound free-market principles instead of government largess.

Individuals who raise their families, pay their taxes and conduct themselves responsibly are, in my view, of equal or greater import to the community. Why are we not entitled to equivalent largess?

When government rakes half of all lottery proceeds off the top and dangles the remainder in hopes of appealing to the greed of its citizens, it's not only legal, it's "good government." When an individual takes a 10 percent cut off the top of a football pool, he is fined and faces jail time. When government commits extortion and bribery under the pretense of community development, it is not only legal, it has its own department.

In my opinion, those elected officials should get free room and board from the state for an extended period of time.The fact that virtually all communities do it doesn't make it right; it only makes it organized crime.

Jack McNally

Harlingen

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